What is people’s problem with Frank Lampard?
“Fat Frank” some call him; they say he’s “average,” “overrated” and, more recently, “past it.”
I must admit, having been a Chelsea season ticket holder for most of my life, and a member for the rest of it before that, I have watched Lampard’s career in its entirety. I have been guilty of saying things like “he slows the game down too much,” or “he shoots too much,” or “Lampard did nothing in that game until the penalty.”
I think it is easy, as a fan, to take such a magnificent player for granted when they’re not a tricky, dribbling contortionist like Lionel Messi, a powerful beast of an athlete like Cristiano Ronaldo or someone who completes 95% of his passes - albeit short ones - like Xavi Hernandez.
People’s problem with Lampard seems to be that he is unspectacular. Apparently you don’t deserve to be called one of the greats if you aren’t flashy.
Lampard’s career statistics are mind-boggling: 800 appearances, 241 goals and 124 assists.
Compare this with Steven Gerrard's 159 goals and 100 assists in 629 appearances, and with Xavi's 84 goals and 89 assists in 733 appearances.
I could go on and on, and show you stats from numerous other midfielders like Lampard, but the end conclusion is that there is no other Lampard.
I will be the first to concede that I have been a Chelsea fan that takes Lampard for granted. I’ve sat there, shook my head at a long shot pulled wide, quipped “this one’s going straight into the wall” when he lines up a free-kick, and criticised his corner taking at times.
But when it comes to the impact that a player has on his team, Lampard’s is still invaluable for Chelsea.
This season alone Lampard has contributed 13 goals in just 26 appearances for the Blues. He is the only midfield player to score at least 10 goals in 10 different Premier League seasons, and only the second after the great Alan Shearer.
Without Lampard Chelsea look incomplete, leaderless, like they have no venom. With him they look much, much better.
He ranks fifth oh all time in Premier League goals scored with 163 behind “legendary” strikers such as Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Andy Cole, and tied with Robbie Fowler. The next midfielder? Ryan Giggs, with 109.
He ranks third in games played behind David James and Ryan Giggs, and second all time in assists behind Ryan Giggs.
So why are Chelsea stalling on giving him a contract?
Lampard may not be just the best midfielder the Premier League has ever had, he should probably be regarded as one of the game's all-time greats.
A box-to-box midfielder who not only creates chances for your team to score, but scores chances if provided with them.
There is a chance that Frank Lampard could eventually pass Andy Cole’s tally of 188 goals in his career from central midfield. That, to me is astonishing. Even more astonishing as that no matter what happens at the end of the season, Lampard should be Chelsea’s all time top scorer.
In a world where everybody is concerned with FIFA flicks, tricks, and completing 98% of passes that only gofive5 yards, players of Lampard’s calibre get forgotten.
It’s all well and good passing to a man standing a few yards from you, but seeing that killer ball and executing it is a different animal entirely. Scoring that many goals, despite being a penalty taker, is also a gargantuan feat in itself.
A player of his calibre would be missed from any team. One has to wonder whether you could truly say that about any of the other players mentioned in this article. Lampard, whether you like it or not, scores goals, creates chances and inspires his team.
If Chelsea do not sign Lampard to a new deal before the end of the season I think Manchester United will be quietly whispering in his ear, convincing him to spend the last few seasons of his career at old Trafford.
He would shine just as bright, provide more than Paul Scholes has for them in the last season-and-a-half, and it would deservedly keep his England career alive.
The combination of Lampard and Michael Carrick in the centre of Manchester United’s midfield would be catastrophic for Premier League defences.
Remember, there is a reason why people call him “super” Frank Lampard.
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